Irish frame builder FiftyOne Cycles were recently approached by former Irish international Dr. Julian Dalby, who was looking for a new bike and the Dubliner has stated that he is considering making a comeback.
Dalby was one of the most recognisable cyclists on the Irish domestic scene in the 80s and 90s and won the 1990 Irish Championships in Waterford ahead of John Sheehan and Conor Henry.
He also took wins in the Irish National 10-mile Time-Trial Championships, as well as number of victories abroad including The International Tour de Toona in Altoona, Pennsylvania in 1990. He represented Ireland on numerous occasions including at the Nissan Classic.
Reptile enthusiast Dalby went on to study medicine after finishing cycling and later became involved in weightlifting and mixed martial arts where he helped to train Conor McGregor. He’s still involved in cycling though, as he works as the race doctor on the An Post Rás.
FiftyOne Cycles have been working recently on developing the customised bike to meet Dalby’s specific requests.
“When he came to Fifty One Cycles looking for a new bike he had one overriding request, it needed to be rigid,” explains FiftyOne Cycles founder Aidan Duff. “In his own words it needed to be so solid that it would feel like it has been set into a block of concrete.”
This is because strongman Dalby, who also holds a Guinness World record in deadlifting wanted to use the bike for standing start interval training to develop peak power and explosiveness. In addition the bike was also to be used for road riding so it would need to be stable and track well into corners.
“To meet these stringent demands we set about designing a super stiff frameset with good handling qualities and with a theme to the match the persona of the owner,” said Duff. “Based on Dalby’s passion for all things serpentine, the art design was obvious – it had to be a snake theme. Dalby announced it would be in a green snake skin pattern like some kind of an oversized Amazonian anaconda.”
To increase rigidity even further the frame has been reinforced by inserting carbo gussets of 3mm plate into the main triangle. These were bonded on to the frame using a patented process that ensures the two carbon surfaces have an optimal surface area for maximum adhesion strength.
“For the artwork we went for a snakeskin effect done in lime green over a fluorescent yellow base to give it some extra pop and brightness. This gives a modern, high tech look while still retaining the serpentine feel. The subtle scaling effect then sublimates into the white base along the main tubes.”
“An oversize Zipp SL Speed stem was chosen for its refusal to flex and paired with aero wing section Zipp SL-70 The bars, stem and seat post were also similarly colour coded in snakeskin. The build was completed with a SRAM Red eTap groupset and Zipp 404 wheels.
“A nice bonus touch of the reinforcing gussets is that they give the frame a more organic webbed look which is in keeping with the reptilian theme. The white Fizik Arione seat with lime green side vents giving the appearance of gill slits and further enhance the look.”
Dalby has expressed his satisfaction with the build as he says: “When I stamp on the pedals it feels absolutely solid. It gives me the confidence to go full throttle and not have to worry about lateral frame flex. I’m so pleased with it that I have been testing out my standing start 500 metre times and I’m thinking of making a comeback on the track to regain my National kilometre TT record.”